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June 12, 1946 – Dec. 13, 2012

The Rev. Gary E. Becker, a longtime Baptist minister and former Buffalo Public School teacher, died Thursday at his West Seneca home. He was 66.

Born in South Buffalo, he was a graduate of South Park High School and Buffalo State College. While attending college, Rev. Becker also worked in the mailrooms at both The Buffalo News and the former Courier-Express.

He earned a master’s degree from Canisius College and his doctorate in theology from Bethany Theological Seminary in Dothan, Ala.

He was ordained at the First Baptist Church of West Seneca in 1981 and served on the board of the Buffalo City Mission for 17 years. He also served as executive director of Child Evangelism Fellowship for three years and preached sermons at more than 65 churches during his early ministry.

He was the pastor of First Christian Church of Machias for 28 years. In addition, he worked during the summer months as a U.S. Customs inspector for more than 13 years.

Rev. Becker also had a 30-year career as a Buffalo Public School teacher, including at his alma mater, South Park High School, Southside Elementary School and Grover Cleveland High School, among others. He retired from teaching in 2002.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, the former Karen A, Coppell; three daughters, Greta Brokaw, Lisa Kalinowski and Sara; a son, Daniel; and a sister, Nancy Heaton.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 29 in Life Church, 4928 Seneca St., West Seneca.